CO3: Think Cat – Stage 1

The following course is ideal for anyone who wishes to further their study of the science of animal psychology and behaviour and will help students on their journey towards becoming qualified companion animal behaviourists. Students with no prior experience in this field may also enrol for these courses.

Students may enrol at any time.

This course is recognised by the ABC SA.

This course is recognised by the South African Veterinary Council in SA.


SAVC CPD ACCREDITED: 21 structured points. CPD points for SAVC accredited courses are only valid for qualified veterinarians and para-veterinary personnel in S.A.

A course for owners, vet nurses and other professionals who want to understand more about feline predatory and social behaviour, and the relationship between cats and their owners.

Cats make great pets! Beautiful, graceful, serene and perfectly designed to be a top of the food chain predator. In fact, the cat is probably the most successful small mammalian hunter ever in terms of numbers, but only since she moved in alongside man. The secretive, shy wild cat then became a comfort and affection-seeking feline missile and tapped into our desire to stroke her lovely fur every day and enjoy all that fun playing with her.

The cat is good for us, simply by having one to look after and enjoy a lifelong relationship with, our own psychological well-being, social skills and immune system all get a wonderful boost and every pet cat can be a welcome antidote to the stress of our busy lives and a very valued member of the human family.

Think Cat - Stage 1

Introduction to Feline Behaviour
Think Cat – Stage 1

And yet, while cats are rarely kept as rodent controllers anymore, their highly evolved hunting capabilities remain intact, largely unaltered by selective breeding or our willingness to feed them and save them the trouble of being a predator for a living. We love them for their companionship now, the cuddles, the purrs and the playfulness, and often do not approve of their ‘natural’ gifts of small furries and birds. And nowadays we may wonder about their impact on some wildlife prey populations in our world. As ever, the cat exposes a wide range of human emotion and response to whatever she does.

This constantly updated course explores the dichotomous nature of the cat, from her remarkable and very recent decision to move in with us and her subsequent rapid spread around the world as a village animal, through ages of persecution, and then into our homes and hearts as one of our most popular modern larger animals, at times exceeding the dog in popularity! By understanding how this all occurred and how and why a solitary predator should want and now, in many cases, need to form a close relationship with you, you can learn to understand your cat even more than she has allowed you to do so far! This course will also help you explore the subtler aspects of feline behaviour, and the nature of the cat’s social relations with each other. The knowledge gained will surely help you derive even more from that special relationship and help other cat owners to do the same.

This course will also help you start to explore behaviour problems in cats that have difficulty assimilating into their homes, or who respond to the stresses of living with us or other cats in ways that aren’t always convenient for us, such as scratching or urine spraying indoors when part of their attraction is that they are normally so clean, well behaved and so very relaxed.

Armed with this introduction, you will be able to help others tackle similar problems, but the information is largely designed to provide a sound basis for further study in the field of feline behaviour therapy.

C03 will enable you to understand the subtler aspects of feline behaviour and the human-feline relationship and enable you to look at what cats do in a different light. The knowledge gained can greatly enhance the pleasure that you can get from any feline/human relationship and help others to do the same, whatever your current involvement with cats.

This course is the ideal course for anyone wishing to get involved in the animal industry who does not have any prior experience.


In this first unit, we examine the history of man’s relationship with cats from its origin to modern day pet cats. We investigate the feline-human relationship and focus on the crucial first step when addressing feline behaviour problems: Understanding owner attitudes and how it affects their cats.

Unit Two delves deeper into the details of feline design as a hunter and we study how the predator relates to its environment and the impact their hunting activities have not only on the well-being of the cat, but also on their prey. The student will learn more about feline senses and cognition and will be presented with assignments to further their knowledge on the subject.

The focus of this unit is the psychology of how cats learn. Students will examine instinctive feline behaviour, early development and the crucial role this plays on the adult cat’s behaviour. This critical period affects the cat throughout his adult life and a thorough understanding of this subject is required in order to address cat behaviour problems.

Studying the social behaviour of the domestic pet cat is the focal point of this unit. We examine how the cat interacts with other unrelated felines in his space and how that contributes to behaviour and emotionality. The student will learn more about understanding feline/human and feline/feline relationships.

In Unit Five the student will learn how to approach feline behaviour problems and treat inappropriate elimination. A comprehensive case study has to be completed in order to successfully pass this unit of the course, and the student will be provided with the opportunity to put into practice what they’ve learned thus far.

We study aggression problems in domestic cats and guide the student towards a more detailed understanding of how to resolve inter-feline conflict situations. The student is required to complete a practical case study for this unit.

The special case study forms the final grading basis of this module. Here, a personal study concerning any aspect of cat behaviour must be submitted for marking and the student has to comprehensively demonstrate an understanding of all the topics discussed in C03.


  • Understand your cat better and learn how to improve your relationship through positive reinforcement.
  • If you are a veterinarian or veterinary nurse in South Africa, this course qualifies for 21 Structured SAVC CPD points and will teach you more about feline behaviour problems and how to help your clients deal with them. It will also give you more detailed insight into basic feline behaviour and training, which will benefit your practice and your clients.



  • Karin Pienaar (Landsberg)
  • Wendy Wilson
  • Denise Wait

Tutors do not mark their allocated student’s assignments. The distribution of assignments for marking is controlled to ensure complete impartiality. These marked assignments are randomly moderated by a qualified Moderator to ensure consistency in the marking standard worldwide.

Course Type:
Correspondence online.

Course Format:
Each Unit of the course notes is e-mailed out to students as a separate e-Book.

The coursework for this course is conveniently completed online. We also supply you with a specially designed ‘template’ to assist you in completing the components of the coursework that require more application and writing so you can use your own computer and preferred word processing software. You can then submit these components to the COAPE offices via the internet, which are marked and returned back to you the same way.

Course Duration:
The duration of the course is 9 months and you can enrol at any time of the year.

Abilities Required for This Course:

  • This course contains practical assessment activities which involve sight, hearing observation and physical interactions/handling skills.
  • Students must be computer literate, have the use of a computer with internet access and be able to operate basic programs such as Microsoft Word.
  • A good command of the English language is essential.

Pricing & Enrolment

Don’t forget to enquire about our affordable monthly payment plans, make your dream course a reality!


Please note that there is a required reading list which you will receive once you have enroled and paid the deposit. The price of the books is NOT INCLUDED in the course fee. It is the student’s responsibility to source and obtain the books. A number of the books are available on Amazon Kindle or E-Readers, which may prove more cost-effective

For all COAPE course enquiries please contact us at [email protected]

For all enquiries contact [email protected]